First portal blast marks commencement of underground mining at Kathleen Valley
Underground mining has commenced at Kathleen Valley in a milestone marked by the firing of the first blast to create the underground portals at Mt Mann pit. The pit will have six portals in total to support our one-way truck movements and ventilation drives, which have been designed to future proof the operation and enhance the safety and productivity of our underground mining activities.
Kathleen Valley has a Mineral Resource Estimate of 156 Mt at 1.4% Li2O and 130ppm Ta2O5 and open pit mining at Mt Mann and Kathleen’s Corner pits commenced in January 2023, with ore being stockpiled for processing through the processing plant when it comes online mid-2024. Open pit mining at Mt Mann pit concluded in September 2023. Since this time, preparations to commence underground development have been underway, establishing critical infrastructure, contractor mobilisations and site establishments, equipment commissioning and portal ground support.
The underground mining contract was awarded to Byrnecut in September and is the single largest contract for the Kathleen Valley Project, with a value of approximately $1 billion over four years. Byrnecut’s wealth of underground expertise, strong balance sheet and skilled workforce were critical to its selection. The Byrnecut team recently mobilised to site, bringing with them new state-of-the-art mining equipment.
The on-schedule commencement of underground mining at Kathleen Valley is a testament to the dedication and high-quality planning work of our mining team, underground mining contractor Byrnecut, our open pit mining contractor Iron Mine Contracting, and many others.
We are powering to production mid-2024.